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Reinterpreting Islamic Historiography
Harun al-Rashid and the Narrative of the Abbasid Caliphate

$53.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: February 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521033046

$ 53.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The reigns of the caliph Harun al-Rashid and his successor al-Ma'mun have long been viewed as the golden age of the medieval Islamic caliphate. Yet how did chroniclers represent this crucial period? Tayeb El-Hibri's book applies a new literary-critical reading to the sources to demonstrate how medieval narrators devised various elusive ways of shedding light on controversial religious, political and social issues, while ostensibly presenting a history loyal to the 'Abbasid dynasty. This is an important book that represents a landmark in the field of early Islamic historiography.

    • Landmark, post-modernist interpretation which will reopen the debate on how to analyse the veracity and dating of the sources in early Islamic history
    • One of the most important periods in Islamic history discussing one of the most colourful figures: Harun al-Rashid
    • Should cut across the history and literature disciplinary divides
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Al-Hibri's analysis is a careful argument for an 'Islamic salvation history'..." Journal of the American Academy of Religion.

    "...a significant contribution to contemporary scholarship of classical Islamic narratives. It stands out for its literary-critical approach to the question of intentions and meanings...students of both classical Islamic literature and historiography will find it useful and informative." Arab Studies Journal

    "El-Hibri...breaks with the traditional approach to the history of the Abbasid caliphate in the eighth and ninth centuries...He shows how decoding Isalmic historiography through study of its narrative strategies and thematic motifs can uncover important new layers of meaning." Book News

    "...the book is very clearly written..." Religious Studies Review

    "Reinterpreting Islamic Historiography is a pioneering work filled with powerful arguments that challenge historians to read Abbasid chronicles in fresh ways, to embrace techniques of literary criticism, and to consider their own assumptions carefully." Kate Lang, Journal of Near Eastern Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521033046
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 151 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.377kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of abbreviations and note on the dates
    Genealogical table: the line of the early 'Abbasid caliphs
    1. Historical background and introduction
    2. Harun al-Rashid: where it all started and ended
    3. Al-Amin: the challenge of regicide in Islamic memory
    4. Al-Ma'mun: the heretic Caliph
    5. The structure of civil war narratives
    6. Al-Mutawakkil: an encore of the family tragedy
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    Tayeb El-Hibri, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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